Very often in our everyday life we, consciously or unconsciously, use ideas and expressions which are biblical, but do we know the meaning and significance of these invaluable words? Aren’t we using them inappropriately, out of place? The show “Reflections” touches upon these issues.
We think about this biblical expression, leafing again through the pages of the Book of Job. The readers of this book are aware that its theme is the sorrow. What is the origin of suffering and what is its reason? Or, if to take it more personally, why has this exact anguish happened right to me?
And finally, “what to do when sorrow visits me” – the answer to this question comes from the depths of the thoughts of Job wounded by sorrow and confusion and gets revealed in his speeches in the form of poems (Chapters 3-31).
This expression has the following meaning – to have a humble obedience during any bereavement. This biblical expression is taken from the Book of Job and we are going to dedicate two episodes to our reflections on it. The readers of the Book of Job are aware that the theme of it is anguish. What is the problem of anguish? Many of us ask why there is suffering in our life? Where does it come from and what is the reason of it?
This expression is used in everyday life as an unresponded word, a call or word without proper attention. In the days of the preaching of John the Baptist, Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to find out who John was, whether he was the Christ or a prophet, or maybe Elijah.
John gave negative answers to their questions. They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied, “I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, “Make the Lord’s path straight” just as the prophet Isaiah said.”
This expression is used in the following sense: to refuse some responsibility, not to get involved, not to take part in something. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27:11-26, describes the trial of Jesus by the Roman court. Pilate asked, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was starting. So he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I’m innocent of this man’s blood,” he said, “It’s your problem.” All the people replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”
It’s a place where plentitude and happiness rule. It is something much desired and seams to be the supreme happiness. In the chapter 11 of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Apostle Paul describes the exemplary faith of the ancestors and writes about Abraham: “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
This means that human being should care not only for his material but also spiritual needs.
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”. But Jesus answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
This biblical expression is used when someone abandons something for the sake of profit and benefits. In Rebecca’s womb, her two sons were struggling with each other, were “colliding.” That struggle showed that the twins would become enemies in the future. According to the legend, a quarrel broke out between them over the birthright, starting from the womb of their mother. To obtain the right of getting the spiritual blessings of Abraham and Isaac, one needed to be the senior among brothers. “So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
This is the whole picture of Esau’s life: to eat, drink, and leave without thinking where one goes, what one leaves behind and what one pays for material goods.
This phrase points out the minor concerns, all the small and useless things that have no permanent and real values. “Vanity of vanities – said Ecclesiastes – vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” There was a very specific genre in philosophical literature that was typical of the ancient Middle East. That genre is the so called “pessimistic literature.” In the Bible, this genre is represented only by the Book of Ecclesiastes, though the pessimism in the Book of Ecclesiastes is a little bit different. Desperateness was typical of the works of “ordinary pessimistic” literature, which left no hope whatever.
The Christian life is also full of problems, that is why the words of Ecclesiastes not only have historical importance but are also actual today.
In our everyday life, this biblical expression is used with the meaning of “gentle, peaceful, decorous and harmless person.”
The Gospel of John the Evangelist states that “John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
The sacrifice is one of the most important themes of the Bible, as the creation of the world is somehow a sacrifice of our Creator: He is a self-sufficient Being who holds everything for the endless bliss. The Almighty as if self-limited Himself, “minimized” His presence from some spheres of the universe to “step back” for other beings and many other creatures and worlds.
The Apostle John was acutely conscious of the sacrificial meaning of the expression “The Lamb of God.” He starts his evangelical story about Jesus introducing Him as the Lamb of God and from his point of view, this is the key to understanding of the meaning of His ministry.
This expression is used as an illustrated definition of firmness. It comes from Exodus 3. Moses was tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God, where God was revealed to him in flames of fire from within a blackthorn bush. “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire, it did not burn up.”
The bush which God called to Moses from within is a uniquely versatile picture and makes us think.
This expression is used in the following meanings: to stiffen in astonishment, to freeze, to petrify. Lot, nephew of Abraham, son of Aran, left the land of Chaldeans and settled in Canaan together with his uncle. With sizable possessions, Lot and Abraham had problems with sharing the lands they had occupied, so they separated in peace. Lot settled down in Sodom.
Shortly after, two angels came down to Lot and told that they had come to destroy the city of Sodom, since the noise of its inhabitants had reached the Lord. Lot had to leave the city together with his daughters, sons-in-law, and wife.
At daybreak, as soon as Lot made it to Zoar, the heavens opened up raining down fire and sulfur upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah until they were completely destroyed, including all surroundings, inhabitants and vegetation. On their way to Zoar, Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
When saying Sodom and Gomorrah, we mean disorder, noise, hubbub, fuss, or excess of immorality and hard drinking. Sodom and Gomorrah are two of the five cities conquered by Cedorlaomer the king of Elam. Except for the city of Zoar, the other four cities were completely consumed by fire from heaven, and this is a warning for us. Abraham prayed for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah; however, it was only the family of Lot whom his prayers helped.
We find this expression in the second commandment of the Decalogue. Lord is love, and one of the manifestations of His love is the overall harmony. Thus, everything related to disagreement, rebelliousness, etc. in us is not desirable for God. To reach harmony both in our inner world and in interpersonal relationships, Lord announces the ten commandments so that they may become the beginning, center and end of the moral path of humanity. These commandments, as a basis for the Lord's law, have a great significance for the New Testament.
The expression “You will see me from the back of your head” or the more widespread version, “you will rather see the back of your head than…,” is used in the sense that a human sees not the essence of the matter or percieves its truth, but confines himself to superficial, fragmentary information only. The Book of Exodus tells us that when God announced about His plans on the earth to the people of Israel, only Moses, unlike the sinful people, was awarded the gift of understanding those plans.
In everyday life, this expression has the following meanings: blasphemy, perversion, noisy feast in the overall distress. The Bible tells about Belshazzar's feast in the Book of Daniel, where several tense episodes of the eternal struggle between the domains of light and darkness are reflected. In such dramatic moments, the Bible helps us today too, to regain courage of spirit and find necessary power for spiritual struggle.
The expression “Balaam’s Ass” is used when a quiet, not talkative person all of a sudden starts to talk and object. Balaam who lived in Pethor in Mesopotamia was probably from the generation of Shem, where everyone was endowed with spiritual gifts. Evidently, this region was known for its soothsayers, oneiromancers, visionaries, prophets… At Balak’s request, Balaam had to curse the Israel people who left Transjordan and moved in the direction of the land of the Moabites. If you want to know what has come out of this undertaking, please listen to our broadcast.
“Babylonian confusion” — this is how we call a situation of disorder, noise and mess in a crowd of unacquainted people. But why “Babylonian confusion”?
The Lord said, "If they have begun to do this as one people speaking the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their languages so they may not understand each other."
Unity of people and nations in one common true belief is the Lord’s almighty power and love. If pride and hatred separate people, God’s power leads them to unity, and this is why the Church founded by Jesus Christ stands firm.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light”. When reading these words, like it or not, a question arises: what was there “in the beginning”, what did the world originate from? The answer to this question begins with the same words: “In the beginning”. According to John the Apostle, God’s first words “Let there be light” are the appearance and manifestation of the Son of God on the earth, which the whole Gospel tells us about.
Often we characterize one as prodigal if one has committed many disgusting blunders and is now sorry and returns to those who one has offended and abandoned. However, when we say “prodigal son”, we don’t mean how sinful one is, but how one is loved by his father and that one can always come back to his father. In fact, we should concentrate on merciful love of the Lord.
After being expelled from the Garden of Eden, men began to increase in number on the Earth. However, their evil deeds also increased in number. And the Lord repented that he had made man on the earth, and grieved in his heart. And the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air."
After the flood, Noah's Ark rested on Mount Ararat. The blessing of God bestowed to the humankind in the person of Noah has not wavered, and His mercy upon Noah's generations has not diminished. Therefore, the covenant established through Noah is of unfading significance for all of us.
"Noah's Ark" - this expression reminds us of the "Great Flood." To escape from the forthcoming flood, Noah built at God's command a three-deck vessel, an Ark, for his family, as well as for all the sorts of animals and birds living on the land.
Through Noah, God established his second covenant with the humanity. Noah would become the humanity's second forefather after Adam. The spiritual cause for the flood disaster was the immense corruption of the humankind and God's wrath in response to that.
“Еye for Еye, Тooth for Тooth.” This cruel principle of revenge has become usual to us. However, Jesus Christ calls us to follow the rule of Divine love – to forgive our offenders not expecting anything in return.
“Forbidden fruit” arouses interest in us; it seems so sweet and attractive. Worldly temptations are desires of body, desires of eyes, conceit of this life, which we can confront with the help of God.
“Fig Leaf” is а pitiful thing which people use to cover themselves in shameful situations. Since the times of Adam and Eve what things have men not used as fig leaf to cover their nudity.